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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2059 Posts

Posted - 10 Jun 2016 :  23:18:11  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Finished the book today. My review is below

I’d give this book 3 ½ stars if I could. The story itself was decent, but it was kind of all over the place, and some of the character development on the newer characters I felt was lacking. Every character also seems to have the same type of dry humor.

But it wasn’t horrible, and there were some good lore bits about what was going on in the Realms, such as Storm, Rune, and Arclath helping to establish favorable relations between elves and Cormyr. Also, there are temples of Eilistraee popping up in Waterdeep, and as a fan of the Dark Maiden, and glad for her return, this made me smile.
I was happy to see a same-sex couple in this book (Jalester and Dunblade), even though their amorous relationship seemed to have developed rather abruptly, unless they had been lovers beforehand. And it ended tragically. The last one, in “Elminster Enraged”, ended sadly too (Longclaws and…I am forgetting his name. It was never expressly stated that they were in love, but it was implied). And Elminster taking over Dunblade’s body right after his death, and then hugging Jalester…okay, I understand El needed a body, but he wraps his arms around Jal and says “I’ll be your friend”. I realize he is trying to comfort Jalester, but…come on. His lover just died. I love El, but that was a bit low.

Like Laeral, this book made me miss Khelben. I liked the tidbit about how she could commune with Dove, Sylune, and even Florin in the Weave, but Khelben went to Arvandor (even though he wasn’t an elf. So at least he’s in a good place). I felt kind of sorry for Vajra, but I prefer Khelben as the Blackstaff. However, the torch—or staff, in this case—has to be passed at some point.

The sky giants arriving was a big part of the first part of the book, but it isn’t mentioned or dwelt with through the rest of the book, so I am wondering what is going to happen with that. Perhaps it has to do with the next big Realms event being rumored to involve giants, so it was mostly used as a setup for that.

There was definite intrigue, with treachery upon treachery taking place, and it was fun to read a book set in Waterdeep again. There is always something going on—or below that city. The end left an opening or a sequel, if that happens. It was nice to read a new FR novel, few as they are these days, so I finished it quickly. I could have savored it, but I wanted updates, and I was hungry, so to speak.

This is marketed as an Elminster novel, and El is in it, but the main character is arguably Laeral. El is more of a background character through most of the book. It is a stand-alone, but people who read it should have some Realms knowledge, and what has recently happened in the Realms. I wonder why it is harder for priests to resurrect, though they can still heal. The gods are quieter in fifth edition, but they seem “distant” to even their clerics and priests—even Mystra to her Chosen. As a fan of the gods, this has me a bit concerned. However, Mystra still makes herself known, and does continue to speak to her Chosen, so maybe I’m just paranoid.

Recommended to Realms fans.

Sweet water and light laughter

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2739 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2016 :  00:21:16  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm reading this book too, so I think that I'll post my opinion when I'm done (which might take a while).

I'm a bit surprised about priests finding it hard to resurrect, and about the gods being more distant. That's because, from what I've understood, in that book it is also said that the reason why a new temple to Eilistraee is being founded in Waterdeep, basically is that Eilistraee herself has appeared under the walls of Waterdeep, and that she has also repeatedly been seen speaking to mortals along the Sword Coast. Which kinda points towards the opposite direction.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2059 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2016 :  03:47:44  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know, right?

Sweet water and light laughter
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BrianDavion
Seeker

71 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2016 :  07:08:04  Show Profile Send BrianDavion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
might have to pick this book up, I'm planning on sending my PCs to waterdeep soon.
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BrianDavion
Seeker

71 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2016 :  23:59:25  Show Profile Send BrianDavion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
regarding the gods being more distant, I think that this has been a theme of the sword coast adventurer's guide as well, I suspect it's a distinct editorial decision that moving forward the gods will be more distant as the century of strife comes to a close and gods move back from their century or so of extreme activism.
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2059 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2016 :  00:04:02  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the SCAG, the gods were said to be "quieter". Not silent, but not quieter. However, quiet and distant are not the same thing.

Sweet water and light laughter
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2739 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2016 :  00:11:11  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes, it definitely is an editorial decision. But it is weird when you consider that, as I said, in the same book it is stated that a deity (Eilistraee) has been personally appearing to people...

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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Lamora
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2016 :  06:31:59  Show Profile Send Lamora a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Plus Lolth is running around like crazy performing all kinds of acts in the Realms in 5e. She even has either an Avatar or Chosen running Menzo to help her out. That is in no way quieter or distant.
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2739 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2016 :  14:20:23  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Idk, maybe the drow deities are an exception. After all, the character that says that the gods are distant was probably thinking about the Faerunian pantheon.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2059 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2016 :  16:24:18  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It was in reference to the Faerunian pantheon, including Mystra, though the goddess does make herself known (and lets her Chosen know when she is pleased or displeased). But apparently, priests of other gods (again, the ones mentioned are the Faerunian pantheon), have noticed it as well. Clerics are still able to perform spells, but certain things have become more difficult, even for them. I just thought of this, but perhaps it has to do with a mandate. For example, Mystra no longer allows for her Chosen to do certain things. Maybe it is the same way across the board, so it -seems- like the gods are distant.

Sweet water and light laughter
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Barbarossa rotbart
Acolyte

14 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2016 :  15:00:05  Show Profile Send Barbarossa rotbart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think that the scenes with the giants are tie-ins with "Storm King's Thunder".

The gods being silent to their priests seems to be an explanation for the loss of power of all divine spellcasters in 5e.

There is one thing that puzzles me: Why is Mordenkainen out of his mind and in the casre of Elminster? He is from Oerth and the magic of Oerth was never in the care of Mystra.
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
795 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2016 :  16:14:52  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When the heck is Alassra coming back anyway? Undo the stupid decisions of 4e already!
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30431 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2016 :  16:57:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Barbarossa rotbart

I think that the scenes with the giants are tie-ins with "Storm King's Thunder".

The gods being silent to their priests seems to be an explanation for the loss of power of all divine spellcasters in 5e.

There is one thing that puzzles me: Why is Mordenkainen out of his mind and in the casre of Elminster? He is from Oerth and the magic of Oerth was never in the care of Mystra.



He'd been to the Realms before. Maybe he was visiting with the Spellplague hit.

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BrianDavion
Seeker

71 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2016 :  11:44:23  Show Profile Send BrianDavion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just finished reading this. pretty good book over all. enjoyed it.
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Merrith
Learned Scribe

135 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2016 :  18:13:46  Show Profile  Visit Merrith's Homepage Send Merrith a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Really enjoyed the book, nice to see Mirt back in the Deep. Also enjoy Laeral as Open Lord. Did leave plenty of questions though, especially regarding what happened to the Blackstaff since we last heard from Vajra in Blackstaff Tower. Was hoping the main group of protagonists from that book would feature in this one as well, for instance almost no mention of apprentices for Vajra, including the one she named her heir. Could be he was just focusing on the relationship between Laeral and Vajra though, as the new Blackstaff. Would really love to know how the Blackstaff became just a fragment of itself though.

Otherwise enjoyed the book, although it seemed very unlikely that the one conspirator who went around killing Lords would just be pardoned and left to Mirt's care at the end. I'm assuming most people like the reduction in power most of the Chosen seem to have undergone. Hope to see more of Laeral and The Deep in this setting. Would absolutely love another book from Steve Schend focusing on the Blackstaff.

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BrianDavion
Seeker

71 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2016 :  21:11:05  Show Profile Send BrianDavion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
it may be the conspirator negotiated a "I'll testify before the lords of waterdeep in return for a pardon" deal. real life is FULL of that type of stuff, no reason to assume the realms isn't eaither.
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Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
2909 Posts

Posted - 02 Jul 2016 :  18:35:37  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Barbarossa rotbart



There is one thing that puzzles me: Why is Mordenkainen out of his mind and in the casre of Elminster? He is from Oerth and the magic of Oerth was never in the care of Mystra.


Check out Curse of Strahd...

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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_Midnight_
Acolyte

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2016 :  03:35:38  Show Profile  Visit _Midnight_'s Homepage Send _Midnight_ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No one else was the least bit concerned that Mirt straight up murdered the first high priest that said they could not revive one of his whorespies
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3532 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2016 :  06:05:35  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by _Midnight_

No one else was the least bit concerned that Mirt straight up murdered the first high priest that said they could not revive one of his whorespies



I thought it was perfectly within Mirt's character. He's never reall quite been a "good guy"

A little nonsense now and then, relished by the wisest men - Willy Wonka

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." -

John F. Kennedy, speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2059 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2016 :  06:09:27  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There were a lot of character actions that none of the other characters seemed to object to.

Sweet water and light laughter
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_Midnight_
Acolyte

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2016 :  13:37:19  Show Profile  Visit _Midnight_'s Homepage Send _Midnight_ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker

quote:
Originally posted by _Midnight_

No one else was the least bit concerned that Mirt straight up murdered the first high priest that said they could not revive one of his whorespies



I thought it was perfectly within Mirt's character. He's never reall quite been a "good guy"



Yeah, Mirt has always been shady, but he seemed to reserve the killing for people who were up to no good. He certainly wasn't reticent to hurt people in other ways to benefit himself, but it just seemed a bit jarring I guess that he would murder this guy out in the middle of the street.
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
744 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2016 :  14:19:12  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just finished it, quite enjoyed it overall. The last few chapters are especially good reading. Lots and lots of Waterdeep lore for those that love the city, ended up taking notes the whole way through. Left with plenty of questions, and would still kill for a new Waterdeep sourcebook... but perhaps one day. It does jump around a lot between different characters, but I was impressed that I ended up caring about nearly all of them. All in all, good fun. Essential reading for understanding the city (and the Realms) in the 1490s DR.

As far as the gods go, I don't particularly mind them becoming more distant, and I'm eager to see what they're planning to do with this whole "no resurrection unless the god really really likes you" thing. It's a pretty huge deal for people roleplaying the world, so it would be nice to see this clarified sooner rather than later, along with a couple other specifics - like does Mystra's ban on mind-reaming extend to Detect Thoughts spells? Is resurrection singled out as the the only limited divine magic? Did Eilistraee really appear or manifest an avatar, or were the second-hand accounts just falsehoods and she too has withdrawn from the world?

Much Realmsthirst was quenched reading Death Masks, but in typical Ed style, he left me with more questions than when I started. More plz.

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2739 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2016 :  14:45:24  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ed commented on Eilistraee last year, http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19841&whichpage=13#468322 and it looks like both she and Vhaeraun have been appearing to their people. Plus, a direct appearance under the walls of the city, in a very specific location, with many people being aware of that (and the rumors being very widespread), and her followers traveling there just after the event, is unlikely to be a falsehood IMO. I mean it would be easy to tell if the 9ft tall drow goddess actually appeared or not.

As for Mystra's ban, while reading the novel, I was under the impression that it mostly applied to mind-reading spells used against magic users? They are painful to use, but not forbidden on other targets.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 12 Jul 2016 15:31:45
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Gyor
Master of Realmslore

1180 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2016 :  15:56:46  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think its only the Faerun Pantheon that gone relatively queit, because the giant pantheon is stirring stuff up, the drow pantheon is up to mischief, and both the Mulhorandi and Untherite pantheons are VERY, VERY ACTIVE. And of course so is the dragon pantheon with Tiamats mischief and Tzchazzar ruling a Chessenta city again.
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2059 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2016 :  17:26:49  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Or perhaps (and this thought just occurred to me), the gods seem distant because their priests/followers aren't used to their more subtle means of communication?

Sweet water and light laughter
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2739 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2016 :  16:52:53  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I forgot to leave a comment about the book.

I really enjoyed it. It does an excellent job of painting a vivid picture of the post-Sundering Waterdeep, from the intrigues of its nobles, to the common people, to the Zentharim and the Xanathar getting back to action.

Looking into the mind of Laeral, reading about her struggles, of how things just aren't like they were for her and the other Chosen, felt like meeting an old friend after a long time of absence.

There are just so many lore gems hidden throughout the book, which were one of my favourite parts of it. Information about Volo, the Seven Sisters, hints at what's coming for the Realms, or Eilistraee getting back in action, or news about what's changing in Waterdeep, and a lot of other easter eggs. I was really pleased with it.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 24 Jul 2016 16:53:35
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